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Erick Ten Hag's assistants at Man United confirmed

By Robert Abong'o - May 23rd 2022

New Man United boss Erik ten Hag [Reuters, Matthew Childs]

Mitchell van der Gaag and Steve McClaren have been confirmed as Erik Ten Hag’s assistants at Manchester United.

Van der Gaag and McClaren sat next to Ten Hag at Selhurst Park on Sunday as they watched Man United lose the final game of the Premier League season 1-0 to Crystal Palace.

The duo has worked together with Ten Hag before, the most recent being a successful spell at Dutch champions Ajax Amsterdam.

Van der Gaag has been Ten Hag’s assistant in the just-ended Eredivisie league but managed the reserve side for two years before.

His playing career involves stints in Netherlands, Portugal and in the United Kingdom, having begun at PSV Eindhoven. He also donned the colours of Sparta Rotterdam and Utrecht before moving to Maritimo in the Portuguese Primeira Liga.  

He retired from active playing in 2007 after one season with Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia.

McLaren, formerly Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant at Man United from 1999 to 2001, is not new to English football.

Louis van Gaal shakes hands with Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren (Reuters)

He started his football management career as a reserve team coach at Oxford United before replacing Brian Kidd at Man United in 1999. He was part of the coaching team that won the treble.

In 2000, he was given a coaching role in the England national team (Three-Lions) and retained the position until November 2002. He then returned to the national team for the Euros in 2004 and was present in the coaching setup when England played in the 2006 World Cup finals.

He was, however, sacked in 2007 after the Three Lions’ failure to qualify for the 2008 Euros.

McClaren went on to coach at Dutch outfit FC Twente, where he won their first-ever Eredivisie title in 2010. He then took charge of VFL Wolfsburg before being dismissed for poor performances.

He had a short spell as manager of Nottingham Forest in 2011 before returning to FC Twente the next year. His second shot was, however, unsuccessful, consequently leading to his resignation in early 2013.

In the same year, he returned to England as manager of Derby County, guiding the club to the play-offs. He was sacked after Derby failed to realise promotion in 2015.

In June, he was appointed Newcastle manager but failed to live up to owners’ expectations, delivering only one win in his first eight matches. He was dismissed in 2016 after a defeat to Bournemouth at home.

He then went back to Derby County for a second time after the sacking of Nigel Pearson but was dismissed in March the following year.

After a short coaching consultant spell at Israeli football club Maccabi Tel Aviv, McClaren was appointed Queens Park Rangers boss. Again, he was caked a year later following a horrendous run (One win in 15 matches).

He returned to Derby County in November 2020 as technical director but stepped down in September 2021 following Derby’s sanction. He, however, remained at the club as a part-time adviser.

He will now join Erik Ten Hag at Man United.

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